Sunday, December 23, 2012

Book Giveaway: Walking in the Law of the Lord

I thought it was time to give a away another book so here it is.

I will be giving away two copies of Bill Einwechter's Walking in the Law of the Lord .  This is a great book that explains the relationship between the Law and the believer.  Mr. Einwecheter has done a great job of giving a concise, yet full, and accurate view of what Scripture says on the subject of the Law as it realtes to the life of the believer.  For those who are unsure on this subject or have heard much said on the abrogation of the Law this is a must read.

I will be collecting names until 6PM (CST) on Wednesday (1/2/13).  Here is how you can have multiple entries:
  1. Leave a comment on this blog post.  
  2. Placing a link to the giveaway on your blog and leave a link to your blog post in a comment here.  
  3. Sharing this post on Facebook, or share the post that is already there, and mention here or on Facebook that you have done so.  
  4. Share this giveaway on Goolge+ and then leave a comment here, or on Google + that you have shared it.  
That makes 4 ways to enter.

Again, make sure to leave a comment here, on one of the Facebook posts or on the Goolge+ posts letting me know the methods you have used to enter.  As a note; liking the Facebook or Goolge+ posts is very much appreciated but it does not count as an entry.

If you have won in the last 6 months I would ask that you do not enter but please promote this giveaway of such a great book.

**This giveaway is limited to the US due to shipping costs**

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sale at Vision Forum

There is a new at Sale at Vision Forum that goes from November 19-24

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

New Christian Boys Adventure Novels Giveaway

There is a giveaway at Frugal Hacks for a new set of boys adventure books published by Vision Forum.     The Men of Grit Christian Adventure Series can be purchased form Vision Forum or you can enter to win a set here.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment Book Giveaway

Do not miss the giveaway of two copies of The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs over at the quote blog - What They Said.  You can enter there until Wednesday (8/29/12) at 6PM CST.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Reformation of Food and the Family Audio

You can get the MP3s and CDs from The Reformation of Food and the Family conference through August 7th.  The sets include 25 of the most popular talks and you can get the MP3 set for $45 and the CD set for $75.

"Please note that these messages are conference-quality. This means that, with the exception of a few edits here and there, you will be hearing exactly what our in-person attendees heard."
The following messages are included in this collection:
  • Food Fight — Doug Phillips
  • Food Emancipation — Joel Salatin
  • A Glorious Vision for Femininity — Nancy Campbell
  • Your Genes Are Not Your Destiny — Dr. Michael Bernui
  • Revitalizing and Reforming Hospitality — Doug Phillips, Nancy Campbell, Foucuachon, Duggar, Bowen
  • Coffee - The Epic History of a Commodity — Joshua Appel
  • A Biblical Overview of the Doctrine of Food — Doug Phillips
  • The Joy of Food in the Christian Home — Francis Foucachon
  • Redeeming the Earth — Joel Salatin
  • What You Need to Know About Detoxification — Gary Powers
  • The Family Feast — Nancy Campbell
  • The Leaf that Changed History - Twice — Bill Potter
  • Local Food to the Rescue — Joel Salatin
  • Practical Tips for Feeding a Large Family — Michelle Duggar
  • What is Making Me Sick? — Dr. Michael Bernui
  • Raising Food Without Getting Sued — Don Hart
  • What We Can Learn From the French About Food — Francis Foucachon

  • The Seven Pillars of Exceptional Health — Gary Powers
  • Ladies's Symposium on the Power of the Family Table — Nancy Campbell
  • Food Heresies in the Media and Your Local Church — Doug Phillips
  • Food as Medicine — Phillips, Zes, Fulmer, Torres, Thomas, Savery
  • Frugality and Health — Phillips, Coghlan, West, Thomas
  • Food for Thought in the Life of a Young Woman — Duggar Ladies
  • Listen to Your Grandmother, Not the FDA — Phillips, West, Zes, Thomas, Frisch
  • Nutrition in Fitness and Weight Management — Mo Gill      
  • A Vision of Victory for Reform — Doug Phillips, Gary Powers, Don Hart, Dr Michael Bernui, Francis Foucachon, Todd Frisch, Sanders, Potter

So again the MP3s are $45 and the CDs are $75.  There is a wealth of information in these talks on subjects I am sure many have not heard talked about at Christian conferences but if all we are to do is to be done to the glory of God, and it is, then should not food be included.  This then entails looking to God's word to see what He has to say on the subject as His word is to be our final authority on all things.  Listen, Enjoy and be challenged.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Born Again Dirt - Book Giveaway

Over at my new website, Cultivated For God is a new post, Stewardship for the Glory of God - Book Giveaway, that includes a giveaway of Noah Sanders book Born Again Dirt: Farming for the Glory of God.  So go on over to Cultivated for God and enter.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The recent Supreme Court ruling and the Church

Scott Brown of the NCIFC has written an article entitled: How the American Church Paved the Way for ObamaCare.

As the church has handed over more and mroe of its responsibility to the state should we really be surprised by what has happened?

Scott says:

"The United States Government has done it again! With the recent Supreme Court validation of ObamaCare, it has usurped the role of individual citizens to care for themselves and will punish them through taxation if they try. The “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave” has taken another giant leap towards the “land of the oppressed and home of the coward.” However, hope for America does not depend on Republican control of the White House and Congress, but instead in the rising awakening of churches and families to stand up for truth and right in our land.

First, let’s examine what just happened. The Supreme Court’s validation of the Affordable Care Act can seem confusing, but it boils down to a simple fact. Under the Constitution, Congress cannot compel you to buy something, but it can tax you for not complying. Passing this law means that the Court creatively justified something that is wrong in principle. They used the Constitution to abuse the Constitution.

But all of this is nothing new!

Government healthcare is logically consistent with our headlong sprint toward socialism in America. We are systematically surrendering every personal responsibility………. read the rest of the article."

Monday, June 25, 2012

Clearance Sale at Vision Forum - Up to 80% Off

There is a Clearance Sale at Vision Forum where you can get up to 80% off thru June 29th.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Vision Forum $50 Gift Certificate Offer

A great way to save at Vision Forum.  For every $95 you spend you get a $50 Gift Certificate - Offer ends Midnight (CDT) June 1st. See more information on the offer here or click on image below.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Trusting in God for His Glory

As I work to transition to our new website, CulitvatedForGod, I will be posting links to the new articles here.  The latest article is on trusting God:  Trusting in God for HIs Glory.  Still lots more to do to finish the site but I pray the articles are edifying.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New Website: Cultivated For God

While our new website is not entirely up yet, I wanted to direct you to what I pray will be a site that will be beneficial as we share how God is working in the life of our family.  The introductory post on the new site is an attempt to relate how the website name was derived and what we hope to accomplish through it.  I will also be migrating over and phasing out this blog so as to be more focused on the new site.  So go here to read the first post: Cultivated For God: Being Refined by God for His Glory.

(Note: Pardon the Home page as we have not completed it yet)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Want to Have Influence, be a Producer!

I have just begun to read Wendell Berry’s book The Unsettling of America and as I got started in the chapter entitled The Ecological Crisis as a Crisis of Character I was struck by a thought that had not crossed my mind before.   Berry rightfully points out that much is made of the rights of the consumer, with regards to food, but little is said of the producer, other than to often complain about them.  This is because as a nation we have been steered, and happily so I might add, away from being a people who produce to becoming a people consumed with consumption and thus even our complaints about the producers of our goods are only surface deep and have little impact in the end.

Because of our move to a consumption-based society, in many areas of life, marketing has become a major field because it is key to increased consumption by its focus on creating desire where it may not have existed before.  Also, because we as a country see consumption as key to our economic health the government hands out funds it does not have so people can buy what they often do not need all in the guise of helping the economy but in the end it only feeds and fuels the desire to consume. We as consumers cry out about our rights but do nothing to secure them, more on that in a moment, except wait for the government to hand us what we feel we deserve by either legislation or some tax.  As long as we are allowed to continue our consumption we are satiated and happy to be told what to consume, by the choices set before us.  Yes, if you walk into a store there are a multitude of choices, probably more than any time in history, but these choices are in truth illusionary and are just surface deep since a cursory reading of most labels will reveal that there is really little difference from product to product.

What struck me from Berry’s book was how he spoke of our loss of a focus on being producers in our zeal to protect our rights to consume.   He is not saying we do not produce anything but that we for the most part do not produce that which will sustain us, as in food, but relying on others to do so and simply seeing ourselves by our actions as consumers.  To be honest even in my profession in which I produce goods of a hi-tech nature they are not, if I am honest, necessary to sustain life.  They may be used for some good but if the products were to not exist life might be different but it would still go on.  This is true of much of what we produce as a people, if done away with the world might be different but it would not in the end cease to exist.  The truth is we could do with less TVs, computers, media devices and other such items, maybe we would even do better as a society since much of the marketing of desires is transmitted though such technology.  However, this is not about being anti-technology but just that we need to step back and realize that without some of the things we rely on today life may be different but it would still be a life we could live and to be honest maybe more satisfyingly.  This is often hard to fathom from our present vantage point because we are so reliant on what is around us and cannot picture life without what we have around us.  Again, remember when I speak of producing I am speaking about that which is needed to sustain life and not simply that we do not make anything.

When it comes to consumption we often complain about the governments intrusion into our rights with regards to what we can purchase, or consume, but then turn around and seek the governments intervention to control those that do produce what we desire.   This problem exists because we have lost the intimate connection between production of what we need to survive and our consumption of those products.  We have left the idea of being producers of the goods needed to survive to the “professionals” as well as leaving the decision as to what is good for us up to some bureaucrat who either does not know what he talks about or has forgotten the past in an effort to create a new future.  Now comes the part that we as a whole have missed and what struck me in Berry’s writing;  we have become in our move from being a people who produce “and” consume to being a people that only consume; a people with no real power to influence what we have to consume, other than the occasional plea to the government that in the end actually creates more problems than solving any.  We have become reliant, even dependent, on what is put before us no matter its quality and worth.

Therein lies the problem.  When we no longer produce what we need to survive for ourselves, at any level, we then become so reliant on those that do produce those goods that we limit our choice and thus lessen our impact on what is produced.  When we no longer cook our own food we have little say about what is put on our table and only get the choices placed before us on a menu.  When we no longer grow our own food we become reliant on those that do and can only choose from what is on the supermarket shelf.   Our choices, due to our removal from the production process, become driven by corporate desires rather than what is good for us and in all of this our choices become limited.  Our options become not between what fresh locally grown food we can have but between what genetically modified, factory produced and laboratory enhanced produce is put before us to consume.   We complain about tomato’s with foreign  DNA, corn that even an insect would not eat or meat that has never seen the inside of a hide but the problem exists because of our choices and actions.  We have little say in the matter of what we consume, except to call on the government to stop that which we have allowed, by our removal from the production process.  When we no longer produce we no longer have much say, or influence, because we are reliant on those that produce what we do not.

Of course this did not all happen overnight and I am sure it did not happen with where we are today in mind, at least for most consumers.  It began with buying into the myth that industrialization would bring us agricultural nirvana and solve our food production problem, a problem that never really existed.  We bought into the lie that we could have all the “food”, or at least that is what it is called, we desired with none of the toil and struggle God promised in the curse.  We came to believe that we could have our cake and eat it too but the problem is the cake is little more than a laboratory experiment made to resemble cake.  We complain about government regulations on what we eat but then turn around and ask the government to control some other aspect of the consumption/production system because we have given up our influence and then wonder why we have no choice.

While we should be aghast at where we are we should also realize that for many, myself included, we paved the road to our current predicament.  If you are like me you bought into the lie that big brother knows what is best for us and that we need to rely on him to take care of us.  We turned our health, wealth and everything else over to some impersonal organization so we could consume from the tree of entertainment.  We did not want to be bothered struggling with toiling for our sustenance and have allowed the government to care for us, if care is what you call it.  We need to get off this train as soon as possible but as with jumping off any moving object there will be pain.   However, it is what we have to do if we do not want to end up in a system where our choices are this green pill or that blue one and where our food comes pre-packed, pre-heated, even pre-digested little resembling what God has for us to live on.

So let us not just complain.  Let us grow something, Let us cook something, Let us produce and not just consume.  Let us say no to the choices set before us and do so because we do not need to take from what is being offered up.  Let us have influence because we produce and not just consume.  Changing direction will be painful and will take much work and being responsible for being good stewards of what God has put before us.  This will also be painful because the current producers are not going to like being deprived of their profit and power.  They will fight back but we need to be ready to sustain the blows offered up so that our children and their children regain the choice we have been part of taking away.

God set up a system (2 Thes 3:10) where those that work, that is produce, eat, that is consume.  We need to, for the sake of future generations, regain our grounding in the foundational biblical principle that we are to produce to consume.  We are not, as we have now become, to simply be consumers.  We need to work at producing what we need to survive so that we get back to having the influence we are to have, a godly influence, and being a people that relies on the sovereign God of the universe rather than Uncle Sam or any other entity. 

As I titled this article it is those that produce that will have influence on what is available for consumption.  When we do not need to take from the offerings put before us we gain influence.  We need to become those influencers and do so for His glory, and thus our good.  Before we complain about the pharmacy placed before us on the grocery store shelves remember it is there because we have allowed it to be so.  Become informed and active so that you can get off of the train to oblivion and let us partake of what God has designed for us to live on and regain the power He has given us.  Let us return to becoming a people that produce what we need to survive and consume from that production and glorify Him in all of this.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Review of Born-Again Dirt: Farming To The Glory of God

Well I finally finished Noah Sanders’ new book “Born-Again Dirt: Farming To The Glory of God.”  It was not that the book was hard to read, quite the contrary it is a very easy read, but my time has been very short lately.  That all said, it was a very good book and one I think that should be read by all.   Not that everyone will be looking to farm but because Noah does a good job of showing how to take ones vocation and applying God’s word to it.  Far too often we speak of the sufficiency of scripture for all of life but Noah has taken that call to heart in his book and applied it to farming.  Maybe there should be a series of these books that seek to look at many vocations and how they can be reclaimed for Christ.

Over the last year I have begun to see that having a Biblical agrarian view of life is helpful and also biblical.  Much of scripture speaks in agrarian terms which lends itself to the task at hand for Noah, that of seeing what reclaiming farming for God’s glory looks like.  Seeking to take dominion for Christ is not just about claiming control over some aspect of life but is best accomplished when one seeks to apply God’s word to every area of life and that includes ones vocation, be it farming or anything else.

As far as the topics covered here is a listing of the chapter titles, which should give you a good idea of its contents:

1) Born Again Dirt
2) Laying a Biblical Foundation
3) Evaluating our Agriculture
4) The Born-Again Dirt Farm
5) The Role of a Christian Farmer
6) Principles of God’s Design
7) Pattern’s in God’s Design
8) Growing Fruit for the Temple
9) The Ministry of Marketing
10) Agri-Lifestyle
11) Getting Started: Tips and Suggestions

Noah takes a look at every area of farm life and seeks to see what God’s word says about it.  Beginning with realizing that we do not own our farms, or for that matter anything, but God does and thus we are to see our place as a steward of God’s possessions.  This is a mindset we should have in all we do and not just in farming.  Noah also deals with realization that, as with all of life, farming is not about us but about God and which should give us a different perspective about life and our vocation.

Again, this is a book everyone can take something away from.  Even if what is taken away is a desire to take the same tact but with regards to a different vocation and look to say what God’s word says about it.  I would add that it is my opinion that God’s word more easily lends itself to dealing with an agrarian life than many other vocations today simply because the Bible itself is decidedly agrarian in its content.  However this should not dissuade one from attempting to formulate a “Born-Again” view for all of life including any vocation one takes part in.

Here is information about this new book from the back cover:

Do you desire to glorify God through the way you farm? Are you tired of reading books on farming and food production that ignore God as Creator? Have you ever wondered what agriculture would look like if it was based on the Bible instead of on evolution, Mother Nature, or the latest manipulations of life by science?

In Born Again Dirt, Noah Sanders encourages Christian farmers to evaluate their farming methods in light of Scripture. This book looks at various Biblical principles related to agriculture and provides examples of practical application. Topics covered include:
-Designing farms as beautiful, fruitful homes.
-Honoring God's design in farm production
-Growing crops that honor the Lord
-Marketing as ministry
-The idolatry of modern agriculture
-Advantages of the farming lifestyle
-Starting a farm and making a living.

Without claiming to have all the answers, Born Again Dirt seeks to inspire you to develop a vision for God-glorifying agriculture . This book is a must read for any Christian who is a full time farmer, backyard gardener, or for anyone who desires a more Biblical view of agriculture.

You can purchase the book through Noah’s Blog Redeeming the Dirt.  I would also recommending reading some of his blog posts as well.

Above all make sure to purposefully and intentionally seek to redeem your vocation always making sure to do so, as Noah Sanders has done, by seeking God’s word for direction.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Last Pilgrims Book Giveaway

For a second giveaway I have two copies of The Last Pilgrims.

This is a very good book written by Michael Bunker, the Author of Surviving Off Off-Grid.  The following is a short segment about the book from the website:

"Michael Bunker, author of the bestselling non-fiction book Surviving Off Off-Grid, would like to introduce you to one of the most exciting, heart-pounding, and unique novels to come around in a generation.  More than your typical post-apocalyptic faire, The Last Pilgrims could well be one of the most important and prescient novels of our time.  Twenty years in the future is five-hundred years in the past.  It is just two decades after the worldwide societal collapse and the Vallenses, an Amish-like “plain people” living and surviving in what was once Central Texas, are under attack by the King of Aztlan and his armies. The pacifistic Vallenses are defended by the shadowy Ghost Militia and their inspiring leader Phillip, a militant freeman who wages a guerilla war with Aztlan.

Jonathan Wall and the thriving agrarian community of Vallenses have prospered by living the simple and sustainable ways of the past.  In a massively depopulated world, balkanization is a reality and monarchy is back.  A corrupt kingdom arises, led by a king who cannot abide freemen on lands that he covets.  Just as the Vallenses send off a plea to the benevolent King of the South States, a mysterious assassin misses his target: Jonathan Wall.

Phillip “the Ghost” is on a personal mission to save the Vallenses – even if it is against their will, while Jonathan’s own son David and his fearless teenage daughter Ruth are led to challenge their pacifistic upbringing and question whether or not the time has come for the Vallenses to fight for the land, the people, and the God they love.

The Last Pilgrims is a modern re-telling of the forgotten history of the Ancient Waldenses - simple farmers who lived in the valleys of the Alps for hundreds of years despite repeated attempts to annihilate them.  Full of tragedy, adventure, humor, and love, The Last Pilgrims is a rare post-apocalyptic saga that takes history and casts it into the future, while examining that future in light of the errors of the present and the past. "

To enter; I will be collecting names until 5PM (PST) on Monday the 19th.  Here is how you can have multiple entries:
  1. Leave a comment on this blog post.  
  2. Placing a link to the giveaway on your blog and leave a link to your blog post in a comment here.  
  3. Sharing this post on Facebook, or share the post that is already there, and mention here or on Facebook that you have done so. 
  4. Share this giveaway on Goolge+ and then leave a comment here, or on Google + that you have shared it.  
That makes 4 ways to enter.

Again, make sure to leave a comment here, on one of the Facebook posts or on the Goolge+ posts letting me know the methods you have used to enter.

**This giveaway is limited to the US due to shipping costs**

Here is a link to the first giveaway of a copy of Into the Amazon.

Into the Amazon Giveaway

I an effort to pack and be ready for our move I have come across some items I will be giving away that I have duplicates of.  So as to set this up as two giveaways I will put them in two separate posts.

The first giveaway will be Vison Forums excellent documentary Into the Amazon.

To enter; I will be collecting names until 5PM (PST) on Monday the 19th.  Here is how you can have multiple entries:

  1. Leave a comment on this blog post.  
  2. Placing a link to the giveaway on your blog and leave a link to your blog post in a comment here.  
  3. Sharing this post on Facebook, or share the post that is already there, and mention here or on Facebook that you have done so. 
  4. Share this giveaway on Goolge+ and then leave a comment here, or on Google + that you have shared it.  
That makes 4 ways to enter.

Again, make sure to leave a comment here, on one of the Facebook posts or on the Goolge+ posts letting me know the methods you have used to enter.

**This giveaway is limited to the US due to shipping costs**

Here is a link to the second giveaway, two copies of The Last Pilgrims.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Technology Fast Update

I had been meaning to write about our “Technology Fast” for some time but things have been very hectic around here.  With the sale of our home, looking for where God would have us move (a post of its own) and work being very busy there has not been much time to write.

We took part in our “Technology Fast” the week of January 23rd through 29th and I would say it was a success.  While I had to use the computer and some other technology at work, the rest of the family did a great job of cutting way back.  As a family we only used the computer a few, times to fulfill some obligations, but in general did not use the computer and thus email for the week.  We also, except for using the stove, used very little electricity even relying on oil lamps and some battery powered lamps at night.

So how did things go?  Well I can tell you we as a family played more games than we ever have and some family members read more than normal.  Also, I learned that my face had grown wimpy by using my electric shaver because the first time I used a razor, which I had not used in many years, was somewhat painful.  We also found that we, out of habit, just turn on lights as we enter a room and kept finding ourselves having to turn around and turn them off or catch ourselves reaching for the switch.  In not using the lights we also found that we had to reschedule what we do as showers needed to be done earlier rather than later as well as getting dishes washed were better done in the morning so you could see what was being cleaned.  It was noticeable that due to technology we do much less planning and while that is convenient that is not necessarily the best practice.  These are just a few of the things that we learned.

What was most important about this fast was what we learned about technology and our interaction with it and not necessarily the technology itself.  When I first wrote about the fast most comments I received were positive but a few people thought that it was a misplaced focus as the issue was not technology but man’s use of it.  To that objection I mostly agree but that does not give technology a free pass.  We need to look at technology and judge it not just on the benefits it may bring but also the issues it may create and the dependence it may garner.  So while technology itself is not the issue we do need to evaluate how we deal with and often gain an over reliance on it.

Due to our comfort with all that is around us we too often think we can take or leave technology but that is not necessarily so.  Regardless of how discerning we may think we are, if we are not careful technology will end up owning us and not us it.   As an example, while I see that good can come from such things as Facebook I also think that the dangers are downplayed far too often.  What we tend to do is look at a technology and find some good and camp on that without asking how things would be without such technology.  Would communication be more difficult? Would it be slower and also lead to not meeting some people?  The answer to both is yes but that does not mean that is a bad thing.  We judge too many things by where we are now rather than where we might be without a particular technology.

Being that I am using technology to question it, I guess I need to be careful how I approach this subject in not wanting to be a hypocrite.  The issue truly is that we need to seek to be more discerning with our use of technology and if we were more discerning I probably would not feel the need to use this technology to write this article.   I should add that I also am employed in such a manner that I use technology every day, and some quite advanced technology at that, so what would happen if some of the technology I use did not exist.  That is easy, God would still be sovereign and I would do something else.  Man existed for along time without the technology we have today so, as I already said, we need to be careful when judging technology not to start where were we are but instead look at where we would be and where we can still go with the correct use of technology or lack of it.

We cannot get rid of technology since the clothes we wear, the tools we use to cook, the paper we write on and so much more are technology.  No, I am not for becoming a Luddite but I would encourage us to ask many of the questions the Luddites have asked.  We could learn from the Amish and others that have taken the simple path by asking questions about the technology around us and by applying biblically derived principles to all that is around us.  We may arrive at different answers than others have reached but we would be better off due to the process.

At the heart of all of this is the heart.  It is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jer 17:9) and when faced with using technology our flesh will use it as those at Babel did in the bricks they created, to reach God, or at the heart of it to be as God.  So we need to be discerning, critical and wise in our development of technological advances.  There may be things that are in and of themselves harmless but when judged as how they will be used, or abused, may be better left undeveloped.  For other things we would be wise to minimize their use and develop lives that are not so tied and dependent on any particular technology so that we cannot live without it, which is often not realized until it is too late.

We as a family will be doing this again, even though our date of when will change due an up coming move.  As before the goal will be to learn how to live apart from the technology we are so used to if God should lead to a time when we will not have it at our disposal.  We all think we can get by without much of the technology we use daily but I can assure you when faced with the actual prospect of not being able to use it if you are like us and many others you will find that it is not as easy as you may have thought.

I would encourage you to have your own technology fast and it can be as big or small as you like.  But remember to make sure the focus is not simply to get by but learn what it is we really rely on; the stuff around us or the God that supplies and allows for that stuff to exist.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Law & Liberty Book Giveaway #3

I meant to do this last month but did not get around to it so I will be giving away another copy of Law & Liberty by R.J. Rushdoony this month.   

I will be collecting names until 5PM (PST) on Saturday the 18th of February.  Here is how you can have multiple entries:

  1. Leave a comment on this blog post.  
  2. Placing a link to the giveaway on your blog and leave a link to your blog post in a comment here.  
  3. Sharing this post on Facebook, or share the post that is already there, and mention here or on Facebook that you have done so. 
  4. Share this giveaway on Goolge+ and then leave a comment here, or on Google + that you have shared it.  

That makes 4 ways to enter.

Again, make sure to leave a comment here, on one of the Facebook posts or on the Goolge+ posts letting me know the methods you have used to enter.

**This giveaway is limited to the US due to shipping costs**

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Take a Technology Fast

How often do we take technology for granted and just accepted it?  How often do we look past the moment and truly contemplate the impact technology will have in the future?  Do we own technology or does it own us?  These, and more, are questions we need to ask when faced with any new, or for that matter, current, technology.  This is not a matter of seeking to avoid all forms of technology or simply calling all technology bad  as we need to realize technology comes in many forms.  The clothes we wear, the utensils we use and many other things that we utilize in everyday life are all a result of some form of technology.  No, what we need to do is look at all technology with an eye to its impact on us and the world that God has called us to steward and to do so from a Biblical perspective. 

While the Bible does not necessarily speak directly to a particular technology we can ask ourselves how any particular technology will affect our lives in light of how God would have us live and glorify Him.  For example; when we see a technology that will work to divide a family we can know that whatever the technology is it needs to be seriously scrutinized and either minimize in its use or avoided all together.  Also, if a technology will take over ones life, as so many tend to do, and leave little time for God then we need to deal with that so as to avoid its impact of our walk with God.

One book I highly recommend with regards to getting one to think about technology and our interaction with it is Michael Bunker’s book Surviving Off Off-Grid.  Even if you feel you have no desire to live off grid or do not think that society will crumble Bunker asks some probing questions that will make one think about their relationship with technology.  The world puts forth that to question technological advances is somehow being backward and ignorant.  However, the issue is not just about whether one accepts a certain technology or not but whether we have thought through the implications of its use.  These implications are not to be limited to the present but also to its impact on future generations as well.

If we are honest with ourselves we will have to admit that with all the promises of technology saving us time and effort we are as busy as ever, maybe busier.  We have been duped by the allure of what we are told technology can offer and bought into the lie.  A lie that says leisure is just around the next technological corner but what we will find around the corner is another corner and another marvel to buy and consume our time and affections.

 We live in a consumer based economy and thus technology needs to be in a constant state of change so as to always be creating the possibility of selling one more item, one more gadget.  Thus, we need to be vigilant so as not to get caught up in this trap of consumerism and keeping up with technology which will never happen since as soon as you buy the latest wonder it will be obsolete and you will need to buy the next one.

When it comes to any technology what we need to do is to stop, take a breath, and ask if technology is being used by us or are we being used by it.  If tomorrow the Internet was to go down many would be lost.  If we had no electricity for a day, weeks or even months what would we do?  I am not even talking about survival here but what would be our mindset.  Would we sit in front of our TVs or computers pining away for it come back online?  Would we be lost since all our “friends” are on Facebook, Google+ or some other social network and we realize we have no personal contact with “actual” people?  What would we do with all our free time, would we remember how to read, how to talk to family or could we even find the kitchen?

Let me confess; I have made connections with people on Facebook that I do consider friends and I have corresponded with people via my blog and other connections on the Internet.  But in truth it was so much more meaningful when I could actually meet these people face to face or at a minimum was able to at least talk on the phone with them.  Technology has allowed me to learn and share insights that would have taken longer and been more difficult if it had not existed.  I can see the good that has come via technology.  However, I have to admit I have not been as discerning as I should be in monitoring my use of technology as I have, as many of us, been sucked up into the black hole of “technological acceptance.”

As I write this article on my laptop to be posted over the Internet I wonder if I am a hypocrite in questioning technology.  I would say that I would be if I was saying all technology, at anytime, was wrong.  What I want to stress is that we need to seriously ask questions about the technology we use and how we use it.  As I have already said we need to ask what the consequences of any technology could be.  We need to be constantly aware of our reliance, and often total dependence, on technology and work to avoid such dependence.  Of course if you are like me and live in the city or have a job that is technology driven it is difficult.   We do need to ask if we have a plan for what to do if for some reason God decides to pull the plug?  What will we do when He moves to show us that we need to rely more on Him than Microsoft, Mac or Dell.  Most of us do not have any plans and until recently I had not even contemplated such a scenario.  Michael Bunker’s book, and a few others I have read recently, have made me begin to think about these things more deeply.

One example of technology, and its associated mindset, being blindly accepted without much reservation was the Industrial Revolution.  When we entered the Industrial Revolution Christians did not ask the questions they should have and we have thus paid a heavy price.  We as believers did not ask what God would have us do by looking at the affect the Industrial Revolution would have on His people.  The following articles make some very good observations with regards to the impact of technology on mankind:

Reforming the Family – Rev. Brian M. Abshire
Efficiency vs the Family – Scott Terry

This all said what should we do, and thus the reason for the name of this post.  Throughout this article I have mentioned questions we need to ask but we need to go further.  We need to take action so that we do not become more dependent on technology than on God.  To do this my family has decided to challenge ourselves and go on a technology fast for a week, once every 2 months.  During that time we will work to minimize our use of the technology we have come to so rely on.  Apart from work, as I do have to make a living and am sure my employer would not want to go along, there will be no computers, thus no internet.  I think Facebook can live without me.  We will only use our phones for emergencies and with regards to cooking be limited to our stove.  Of course if we lived in a different environment we might be able to limit our use of technology even further, but this is a start.  Actually even making a decision to do this showed some of our over reliance and desire for technology in our family.  There were some in the family that balked a little since until we talk about curtailing our use of technology we did not realize how dependent we had become on it.

In taking part in this “technology fast’ we hope to grow closer to God.  Not necessarily because of the lack of technology but because of the time we will have that is no longer absorbed by the technology we use.  I am hoping and praying that our time in family devotions will grow and our interacting as a family will flourish.  Let me say, if this is done purely to simply say we have avoided technology I think we would miss the point.  No, we want to do this so that we can realize how dependent we have become on technology, often at the cost of our dependence on God, and work by God’s strength to rely on Him as we should.

I encourage you to join us as we seek to set technology aside, as best you can, for a week.  Our first Technology Fast will take place from January 23nd to January 29th.  If you need to start on a different week that is great since it is not the dates that matter but that we seek to do something.  I encourage you to share your thoughts on joining us and after the week, whether it be the same as us or another week, share what God did in the life of your family during the week. 

This, as with all things needs to be done for His glory and that needs to be at the forefront of our minds.  Let us grow closer to Him as we remove those things that often are seemingly good but end up impinging on time with Him, with family and with ones church.

Previous Posts in this Series:
GMOs: An Agricultural Tower of Babel?

Monday, January 02, 2012

GMOs: An Agricultural Tower of Babel?

(Updated with what is now paragraph 6 on 1/7/12)

There are many out there that feel anything we do to increase production and efficiency, thereby apparently reducing price, is a good thing.  Others put forth that the only way we can feed the world and produce enough food is by genetically engineering it.  But is this correct as the true total cost, including subsidies and increased health costs, of the food we eat is yet to be tallied.  Also, from what I can find the issue with food is not a quantity issue but a distribution issue so making more at any cost is not the answer.  However, more importantly we need to ask if the producing of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) pleases God or is it an Agricultural Tower of Babel?

Now I have probably already tipped my hand as to where I stand on this subject but if God’s word is sufficient for all of life, and it is, it must say something about this topic.  Of course you will not find a passage such as 1 Agronomy 1:1 that says “Thou shall not make GMOs” but this does not mean that God does not speak to this area of life, He does.  God speaks to every area of life, either directly or in principle.

I realize that when one speaks to the topic of food there will be those that say that what we eat and what we produce is an area of liberty and we can basically do as we please.  Some may even go to Peter’s vision in Acts  10:9-16 to say that we can eat all things.  Well, first the passage in Acts is not dealing as much with what one has for dinner as dealing with religious preconceptions about what was clean or unclean, to say that Peter can indeed eat and fellowship with the Gentiles who were considered unclean by the Jews.  The “liberty” card is usually used whenever ones toes are being stepped on and one becomes uncomfortable.  While we do have liberty it is all within the confines of God’s order and commands so we need to be careful of where we proclaim liberty.

To see what God’s plan was from the beginning one needs to go back to, well the beginning, Genesis 1:25-27 and Gen 2:5,15 to see that God placed man in a garden to care for what God provided.  God could have easily made the garden to care for itself and produce in abundance all that Adam and Eve required but God decided, in His infinite wisdom, to have man cultivate and till the soil.  He placed man not so much as lord over the land but as a steward of God’s provision, as caretaker and overseer of it.  While this call was prior to the fall it did not change after it.  What changed after the fall was man’s relationship with the soil as it was going to now, in a sense, fight back and not produce as man would have liked.  God did not tell Adam to go out and try and manipulate the ground, the foliage or the animals but to care for it to bring forth what God wanted from the soil even with the curse that was placed on it. 

So what does man do today but try and avoid the curse anyway they can.  I spoke on some of this in my last article on work.  We create food, if you can really call it that, which is modified so as to be able to produce more crops by being pesticide resistant and in the process nutrient deficient.  Man, instead of simply dealing with the various issues created by the curse through hard work and natural methods has tried to be God and create new organisms.   At the heart of much of this is a desire to avoid work and the trials of it and to be as God. 

As I mentioned the Tower of Babel in the title of this article, I should add that it is, among other things, a picture of man seeking to use technology to create their own heaven, their own redemption.  Gen 11:1-5 speaks of the technology used, that of brick and mortar, and the passage even speaks of them being baked.  Now we may not think of bricks and mortar as a technological advance but it truly was.  Man was seeking to use what advances they had before them to make a name for themselves (Gen 11:4) and in a sense find redemption on their own.  They sought to make something of themselves and avoid being scattered.  However, God would put a stop to that and He can do the same with us.  God can bring down the technological tower we have created and rely on.  At issue is not necessarily a matter of avoiding technology, as that is often difficult, but it is a matter of what we do with that technology.  It is a matter of what we rely on, God or self.

But what of those that farm and have worked to make mixed breeds of animals and plants?  Is this a form of genetic manipulation?  This is dealt with in Joel Salatin’s book Folks, This Ain’t Normal (Pg: 225-239) as he shares how genetic engineering deals with manipulating “kinds” whereas the natural mixing of breeds and plants is keeping kinds together.  God created “kinds” (Gen 1:11,12,21,25) and we should not seek to make, to be as God, and create new kinds. 

This tendency to want to be as God is not new as we see it in the Garden, at Babel and we see it still today. When we manufacture, manipulate and modify the natural order that God has provided we in essence seek to be as God.  Being creative is an innate attribute we have as a creation made in the image of God. However we need to realize the limits of that creative desire and understand that simply because we physically can do something that does not mean we should.  Adam and Eve could physically eat of the tree but they were not to so we too need understand our limits and be careful that we do not turn our call to dominion into a call to be as God.  

Does all of this mean we simply need to accept the thorns and thistles that make producing food difficult?  In one sense yes as they will exist in some manner until Christ’s return.  But I think we can, by the sweat of our brow, fight those incursions that make the ground unfruitful.  We need to do so in a manner that aligns with God’s order and in a manner that magnifies Him and not us.  We need to make sure that all we do honors God’s creation and is not in the end simply more of a curse, as we are finding with the genetically engineered food substitutes that have been created.
Let us seek to be reliant on God and what He provides.  One of the results of the curse on the land is to remind us of our reliance on Him for our redemption.   Let us be content with the trials we face due to the curse.  Not that we are to be complacent but understand that we cannot avoid the curse and must work within the confines God has set before us.  God has provided all we need to live for His glory and we need to come to grips with that.  Can we create technology to better glorify God, well that is a topic for another post but in short yes as long as we understand the difference between using technology and being dependent on it. 

So, yes the genetic engineering of our food is indeed an Agricultural Tower of Babel and it will crumble.  The question is how long will it be until God pulls the tower down and how much damage will have been done in the mean time.  Should we not instead work to pull the tower down and thus reveal our reliance on God and not on ourselves? 

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